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    August 23

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EDITORIAL: Girvan's vision for single economy

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 15 April 2014

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NOTED THINKERS, scholars and decision-makers of the Caribbean Community continue to offer moving tributes to the remarkable contributions of Dr Norman Girvan who died last week in Havana, Cuba, where he was undergoing emergency medical attention following serious injuries suffered from a fall while on a visit to Dominica. Death came for the Jamaican-born economist, whose name is indelibly linked with new thinking for post-Independence regional economic integration, as he steadfastly kept hope alive for CARICOM governments to act in unison for implementation of some of the better known works submitted by him and distinguished regional colleagues now respectfully mourning his passing. Secretary General of CARICOM, Irwin La Rocque, may well have summed up widespread sentiments on the passing of this 72-year-old regional icon when he noted this past weekend: “The death of Professor Girvan, an outstanding advocate for Caribbean integration, has left a void in the intellectual capital of the Caribbean Community . . . .” Perhaps, therefore, as an enlightened act of appreciation for Girvan’s admirable contributions in support of regional economic integration and functional cooperation, CARICOM Heads of Government should now give serious consideration to one of his more widely discussed scholarly contributions in support of what’s recalled as Towards A Single Economy And A Single Development Vision. It was based on a report commissioned by former Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur, when he held portfolio responsibility within CARICOM for what continues to be an elusive goal in this 41st anniversary of the Community – the creation of a seamless regional economy.   Sadly, with revised drafts approved by Heads of Government, the very inspiring Girvan Report, that outlines phased sequential creation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), was to pathetically fall victim to a very surprising decision by our Heads when they pressed the so-called “pause” button in 2011 on implementation of CSME projects. The single economy and single development vision was outlined in Girvan’s report to CARICOM, with linkages to all sectors of the regional economic integration movement, and was expected to be inaugurated by 2015. It would take a quantum leap of faith to experience such a transformation. It’s a non-starter. The harsh reality is that as the body of Norman Girvan awaits expected cremation, the once much shared vision for a “Single Economy and Single Development” remains on the “pause” button of CARICOM’s ultimate decision-makers, our Heads of Government. We extend heartfelt condolence to the widow and all family members of Professor Norman Girvan, undoubtedly a most brilliant and committed citizen of the Caribbean Community, for which he was still toiling when death came.  

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